By Daniel Chigundu
HARARE Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni says the famous Mbare Veggie Market is congested and needs to be decentralized to help easy pressures and avoid outbreak of such diseases as typhoid and cholera.
The veggie market which has been in existence since 1907 when Mbare high density suburb was established, is a citadel of fruit and vegetables as most farmers from areas surrounding the capital come to sell their produce.
However, the market has become over populated owing to high levels of unemployment in the country brought about by massive company closures in the past decade.
The increased number of vendors at Mbare Veggie Market is putting too much pressure on the sanitary facilities such as water and toilets which were tailor made to cater for a small number of people and the amount of garbage has been increasing as well.
Speaking after visiting a council works team that is responding to the typhoid outbreak, Councillor Manyenyeni said the veggie market is more of a municipal ward and needs its own dedicated equipment and facilities.
“It was most encouraging to see our council works team at work in Mbare two days ago. This was my fourth visit to Mbare in three weeks – I learnt a lot and I have fresh ideas about this operation.
“Mbare veggie market must be decentralised – it is too congested both the farmers market and the makoronyera “rogue” side market. I think we need a veggie market along each feeder road into Harare.
“Mbare market is actually a ward on its own in terms of municipal needs. It merits its own dedicated equipment. The pressure from New Lines, Matererini etc makes that place unmanageable under current provisions – it needs a different support structure especially for litter management,” he said.
Vending has become the substitute for formal work in the country as people are trying to cushion themselves from the biting economic challenges fronted by an acute liquidity crisis.
Mayor Manyenyeni added that there is need for the city council to invest in new facilities, equipment and also come up with ways of addressing the unsold vegetables that are usually thrown around the area.
“We need a special understanding of dealing with unsold perishables…..biogas could serve the residents well. The current frequency of high pressure cleaning is evidently way short of needs.
“The politicisation of the operations is worrying – we do have a parallel council at work there. We need to invest in more basic facilities there especially water and sanitation. Water without detergents will not suffice. A new wall has been mooted for better control,” he said.
Due to lack of adequate vending space at the Mbare Veggie Market, most vendors have invaded the central business district where they are now selling their wares on the streets pavements and shop verandas.
These vendors have however been accused of causing the recent typhoid outbreak and have since been banned from selling their wares in town.
However in an act of defiance the vendors have vowed to stay put until government has created jobs and resurrected industries in the country.